Citizens Advice welcomes a pledge to repeal the under-occupancy charge
20 September 2013
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, has welcomed a pledge to repeal the under-occupancy charge, but warns that ministers must do more to build houses to reduce the cost of Housing Benefit.
Gillian Guy said:
“Abolishing cuts for under-occupancy would be a big help to hundreds of thousands of families.
“Repealing the charge for households with extra bedrooms would be positive but would not solve the fundamental problem of high Housing Benefit costs. The bottom line is that without an urgent focus on housebuilding, families will struggle with high rents and the state will have to continue to pay for sky-high Housing Benefit costs.
“People who are in employment and have a mortgage are increasingly turning to their local Citizens Advice Bureau as they struggle to make ends meet due to unsustainable housing costs. Problems with rent arrears and debt are a massive issue for our clients, and one in five people who comes to us with bailiff problems is a working parent. The only way to tackle this problem is to get building and get building now.
"At Citizens Advice we'd welcome the repeal of this damaging policy, but it will only be a sticking-plaster unless whoever is in Government does much more to build more houses and tackle the root cause of why people are being forced into rent arrears.”
Notes to editors
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens.Advice.org.uk
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit Citizens.Advice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at www.adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or 08454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.